Thanks to a generous grant from non-profit El Camino Hospital (ECH) Community Benefit Fund, Sunnyvale School District is pleased to announce the addition of Britta Van Andel to our team of district nurses this November. As a team of three nurses, and a ratio of 1 nurse to 2,300 students, we still face many challenges but this grant makes a critical difference in our ability to address the more and more complex medical issues we are seeing every day.
The need for health care in schools has increased over the last decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control, newly diagnosed cases of diabetes have almost doubled in the last 10 years, food allergies and anaphylaxis have doubled (CDC, 2008) and according to the National Center of Education Statistics, children in special education have increased from 8% of the school population in 1977 to 14% in 2006 (NCES, 2007). Within special education, children with health conditions have doubled since 2001 (NCES, 2007).
Having an additional nurse means we can be more effective at managing our student’s chronic health conditions, injury and illness prevention, Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollment, and connecting students and families with medical homes. Attendance in the early grades is correlated with school achievement and dropout. Our goal as district nurses is to keep children in school where they learn and prevent parents from unnecessarily missing work.
We are now entering our 5th school year of continued support from the ECH Community Benefit Fund and we are truly grateful for this opportunity.
News Brief by Dagmar Paul, RN, MSN/District Nurse